The government of New South Wales (NSW) on Thursday reported a growing number of homeless people across the Australian state, noting that the deepening housing crisis is hurting most vulnerable citizens.
According to results from the 2023 NSW Street Count, conducted between February 2-27 in more than 350 towns and suburbs, 1,623 people were counted sleeping rough in the state, registering a 34 per cent increase compared to the 2022 survey, reports Xinhua news agency.
Byron Bay, located on the far-north coast of NSW, accounted for the largest cohort of 300 rough sleepers, representing a stark 117 per cent hike compared to February 2022.
Besides, Sydney saw the number of homeless people tick up by 23 per cent to reach 277 in 2023.
Previously in 2020, 2021, and 2022 statewide street counts, the capital city had recorded the largest amount of people sleeping rough in NSW.
“It is deeply concerning to see rising numbers of people sleeping rough. We need to do better, we need to drive these numbers down and provide our most vulnerable with access to safe and secure housing,” said Rose Jackson, NSW Minister for Homelessness.
The Minister noted that the two priorities for the state government to address homelessness are delivering more social housing and more comprehensive support services.
“Our aim is that experiences of homelessness are rare, brief, and not repeated. We know we have a long way to go in achieving that goal,” Jackson added.